That is the conclusion of an analysis, led by a faculty member at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, of final results data from 193 randomized Phase III clinical studies tested by SWOG. The findings are published in the current problem of JAMA Oncology and will be presented and discussed by the lead author, Dr. Joseph Unger, today, at 4:45 p.m. CT at the annual conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. Sponsored by the NCI, SWOG is a network of malignancy analysts from centers and hospitals around the United States and in six other countries.
First organized in 1956, it allowed medical trials to tap into diverse sets of knowledge and sign up more patients by including multiple institutions. SWOG today is one of five remaining nationwide networks set up to carry out NCI-sponsored cancer prevention and treatment tests. 418 million in SWOG treatment tests of most sizes given that they began.
Researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutch, which has been the home of SWOG’s Statistics and Data Management Center since 1984, decided to take a detailed look at the come back on that investment, and the results surprised them. Looking only at the largest and most sophisticated kind of SWOG studies completed through 2015, the researchers analyzed 193 randomized Phase III clinical trials-trials specifically designed to prove a new treatment increases results than existing therapies. Of this group, 23 showed that the new, experimental therapy improved overall survival for trial patients, providing strong enough evidence to improve how cancer is treated. Yet this primary of 23 successful medical tests has produced a steady rise in success for patients.
According to Unger, a biostatistician and health services researcher in the public Health Sciences Division at Fred Hutch and principal investigator of the analysis, tumor patients in the U.S. 3.34 million years of life, compared with what their success could have been without these treatments. The year of life saved 125 for each.
According for an analysis by the NCI, malignancy is the best cause of many years of lives lost in the country. In a study that positioned all other significant reasons of death in the country, cancers were responsible for 9.2 million “person-years of lives lost” in 2013, compared to 7.3 million for heart disease and 3.8 million for mishaps. The researchers screen the impact of these increases in a chart that depicts an intensifying buildup of shaded layers representing years of life saved credited to each of the 23 therapies. Of those treatments examined in SWOG trials, all but one are still in use today, Unger said.
Significantly, 84 percent of those years of life preserved have accrued since 1990, a reflection of the accelerating speed of improvement in cancers research. Unger recognized that the study requires numerous assumptions, some conventional, some less so. For example, the study’s central findings are based on the assumption that practice changes were followed by the oncology community upon publication of the SWOG findings.
Calculations also provided in the analysis show lower improvements in life years gained for tumor patients if the new therapies were adopted later. If, for example, all treatments had taken three years after publication to be used, the years of life saved drops to 2.9 million from 3.34 million. The NCI provided support for the research reported in this study, although the content of it is solely the responsibility of the authors and will not necessarily represent the state views of the National Institutes of Health. Unger is a member of SWOG Statistics and Data Management Center and has been involved with data analysis of those trials for further than twenty years. The 23 positive studies enrolled 12,361 patients.
The years of life gained were computed through a complex method that included scientific trial data, matching success data from the national SEER 9 tumor registry, and life-desk data. Unger said the study results provide strong evidence that SWOG and its own four-sister systems deliver a strong return on the investment necessary for them to handle their studies.
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